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Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Daily briefing: 22-year-old Pulwama shopkeeper chose target of attack; Daily Covid cases scale record peaks

From a furniture shopkeeper zeroing on the target for the Pulwama attack to the UP government asking for details on the number of Brahmins who have applied and received arms licences, read the top stories from print edition here.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Updated: August 31, 2020 8:27:02 am
top news briefing today, top news today, india top news today, express investigation, fincen files, what are fincen files, rajya sabha chaos, farm bills, gauri lankesh, anurag kashyap sexual harassment caseSeptember 21, 2020: A look at the top news today.

Good morning Readers,

We are covering India’s record number of new coronavirus cases, its entry into a recessionary phase and how a 22-year-old shopkeeper zeroed on the target for the Pulwama attack.

The Big Story

Even the least conservative estimates of the first quarter’s GDP figure projected a 16.5 per cent contraction. It is expected to be the worst since India started reporting quarterly data in 1996. And the numbers, experts warn, are unlikely to capture the full extent of the economic crisis. 

From The Front Page

Responding to a query by a BJP MLA on the “killing” of Brahmins, their insecurity and gun ownership data, the Uttar Pradesh Government sent an unusual letter to all District Magistrates asking for details on the number of Brahmins who have applied and received arms licences.

It’s been a year since 19 lakh people were excluded from the NRC in Assam. The pandemic has delayed the process of issuing rejection orders to applicants. And without them, those excluded cannot appeal at Foreigners’ Tribunals. The limbo means many are finding it hard to get passports or even marriage proposals.

While the planning and execution of the Pulwama attack was carried out on the directions of the Jaish-e-Muhammad bosses in Pakistan, the target itselff — a convoy of vehicles carrying CRPF personnel —  was chosen by a furniture shopkepper in South Kashmir. 

The Pandemic

India has been promised $6.5 billion (around Rs 48,000 crore) in loan by international agencies to fight the novel coronavirus since April. The biggest chunk of the funding is from the World Bank, which has extended $2.75 billion to India as part of a Covid relief package.

For the last four days, India has been detecting more than 75,000 new Covid cases, a figure that no other country has touched. However, the government feels there has been no unusual rise in the positivity rate and that the surge could only be due to the increased testing numbers in recent days.

You may no longer get blankets, pillows, hand towels and sheets while travelling in air-conditioned coaches after trains resume full services, even after the pandemic ends. “We are moving in that direction,” an official told The Indian Express.

Beyond Covid-19

Self-styled godman Asaram Bapu was arrested seven years ago. But even today, IPS officer Ajay Pal Lamba, who led the police team that August, and in his upcoming book ‘Godman: The True Story Behind Asaram Bapu’s Conviction’, says he gets threat calls from the rape convict’s followers.

Chief Minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy had said he would seek reelection in 2024 only after making Andhra Pradesh a dry state. However, his efforts to achieve the same has triggered a spike in the illicit liquor trade and smuggling of liquor from other states.

ICYMI

  • The Centre is increasing domestic passengers at the rate of 5,000 a week and by Diwali, a bulk of the civil aviation traffic will be back in form, Union minister Hardeep Singh Puri told The Indian Express.
  • The Jammu and Kashmir police on Sunday used teargas shells to disperse Muharram processions in the Valley. 
  • Tamil Nadu on Sunday announced several significant relaxations to the Covid-driven lockdown in the state, while a general lockdown will remain in place till September 30.
  • Half of the verified houses built under PMAY-G in Rajasthan did not have toilets, even though the state was declared ‘Open Defecation Free’ in 2018.
  • Two weeks after he was assaulted by a “student leader”, a physics professor at a Bihar university says he is being targeted for the reform initiatives he has taken at the university ever since he joined.

And finally

India’s Nihal Sarin and Divya Deshmukh were initially deemed to have lost their matches to Russia on the basis of time running out, after the internet connection faltered during the FIDE online Chess Olympiad. However, a little while later, the International Chess Federation decreed that the two teams be declared joint winners.

Delhi Confidential: Keeping In mind the Covid-19 situation and the suffering it has caused, Justice Arun Mishra, who is set to retire on September 2, declined to attend a virtual farewell organised by the Supreme Court Bar Association as per tradition.

🎧  In today’s episode of Three Things Podcast, we discuss the directive issued by the Lok Sabha speaker Om Birla to parliamentary committees and why it has raised concerns about freedom of speech.

Until tomorrow,

Leela Prasad and Liu Chuen Chen

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